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The Diagnostic Drawing Series: An Art Therapy Assessment

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on 9 November 2015

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Transcript of The Diagnostic Drawing Series: An Art Therapy Assessment

What is the DDS?
Designed by art therapists in 1983, the Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS) is a three-picture art interview that focuses on the structure of drawings not content.
First art therapy assessment to be correlated with the DSM through research
Most well known and widely taught art therapy assessment
Most researched art therapy assessment - more than 50 studies to date
(Cohen, 1994)
DDS Archive and Research
18" x 24" white drawing paper with slight texture/tooth
12 color set of soft chalk pastels with no wrappers
Administer 3rd to 5th session, but can be given at any point in treatment for non-research purposes
Informed consent
Explain to client they will be creating three drawings with up to 15 minutes for each. Speaking is not allowed during the drawing interview, but drawings will be discussed at the end.
Where and who?
First administered at an inpatient psychiatric institute in Virginia in 1982.

May be used in inpatient or outpatient treatment, private practice, or any setting where art therapy is practiced.

May be administered by any mental health professional or student trained in its use.

The Diagnostic Drawing Series: An Art Therapy Assessment

Strict procedural and materials protocols must be observed to use the DDS in research and to submit samples to the DDS Archive
Control submissions and diagnostic submissions may be made to the DDS clearinghouse
Submissions are stored and data is compiled
Validity and Reliability
According to Mills, Cohen, and Meneses, (1993) the DDS has:

very good inter-rater reliability for the diagnostic rating tool
good procedural validity compared to existing diagnostic tools

What is the DDS? (cont'd.)
Consists of three separate drawings
Formal elements of the drawings are rated using standardized descriptions
Data is correlated with various DSM III diagnoses
Procedure (cont'd.)
One paper allotted for each drawing, any orientation of the paper is allowed
Present client with paper and pastels
Drawing one: "Make a picture using these materials."
Drawing two: "Draw a picture of a tree."
Drawing three: "Make a picture of how you are feeling using lines, shapes and colors."
Discuss "Drawing Inquiry" questions with client

What to look for in DDS drawings
Behaviors and appearance
Use of art material
Formal elements
Use of space
Line quality
Abstract or representational
Drawings examined progressively and as a complete series
What to look for in DDS Drawings (cont'd.)
Cohen, Mills, and Kwapien (1994) provide some hints about what each drawing may be communicating

Drawing one - "Make a picture using these materials"
May gauge what and how much info client will share, and is a representation of client's defense mechanisms, i.e. stereotypic imagery, coping mechanisms in response to stress

Drawing two - "Draw a picture of a tree"
Welcomed because prompt is more directive, defenses may lower. The tree may "be viewed as a symbolic self portrait, displaying one's vegetative and/or psychic state," or a representation of the self according to Carl Jung. Structure of this task may reveal strengths in some clients while revealing weaknesses in others.

Drawing three - "Make a picture of how you are feeling using lines, shapes, and colors"
Task allows for great latitude of expression despite specificity of wording of the directive. May produce images ranging from abstract to representational, highly personal to stereotypic or mundane. Requires more thoughtfulness and control than second drawing but also provides outlet for emotional release and closure.
Excellent utility - informative of client defenses and strengths, assesses attitudes about treatment while allowing the client to explore typical art therapy media
Substantial collection of information in a short period of time
Assists in building rapport and engendering respect and interest in art therapy with interdisciplinary professionals
Helpful in monitoring changes in symptoms
Ease of use, few materials required, portable
Lack of data - validity and reliability not adequately proven with given numbers, difficulty correlating specific elements of artworks with variety of diagnoses based on limited numbers
Based on DSM III, no current data found
Still collecting data but not updating research a literature
"Make a Picture using these materials."
"Draw a picture of a tree."
"Make a picture of how you are feeling using lines, shapes, and colors."
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